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Technology for Managing your Finances

Access to technology is a major advantage that benefits military families for helping manage finances.

These days, there’s virtually an app or a program for everything, and that includes financial basics. Do your homework and find out which ones could be the most helpful to you. Do you need alerts to remind you to pay bills on time? Do you need help organizing your finances? Are you looking for a program that allows you to examine your bank, credit card, investment, and loan account activities all at once?

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Big Changes in Military Retirement

While establishing goals for 2017, military members have critical decisions to make this year that could have huge implications to retirement planning and savings. Military ​retirement reform ​became law in November 2015 and takes effect officially on Jan. 1, 2018.

How does the new law impact military members?

The new law creates big changes for how retirement compensation is structured.

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What’s your financial big picture?

As a military member, you may already have a basic plan laid out for your future. You may be planning to start a family, purchase a home, or shop for a new vehicle. Either way, the best financial plans start with a big picture. With 2017 already in full swing, take the time to reflect on your specific goals, outside of how much they may cost or how limited you may feel your resources are.

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Military Finances: How to select a credit card

Like dandelions in a spring lawn, credit card offers pop up everywhere–stuffing your mailbox, flashing on the Internet, even falling from the magazines in your doctor’s waiting room. And they all sound so attractive. “0% APR until next year!” “No fee if you transfer a balance now!” “Low fixed rate!” You’re thinking of applying for a card, but how do you decide which offer is best for you?

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Tax Treatment of Travel Expenses

If you are self-employed, you may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business. If you are an employee and incur unreimbursed travel expenses while traveling from your “tax home,” these expenses are deductible as miscellaneous expenses subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor (if you itemize your deductions on a Schedule A). These expenses can include the cost of transportation, lodging, and/or meals.

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Tax Credits: Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you have a child or other dependent and work outside the home, you may need to pay someone to care for your loved ones. Fortunately, the child and dependent care credit may provide some financial relief. The child and dependent care credit is an income tax credit for up to 35 percent of certain expenses you paid to provide care for your dependent child, your disabled spouse, or a disabled dependent while you worked or looked for work.

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Adjustments to Income and Itemized Deductions: Members of the Armed Forces

As a taxpayer, you may be able to subtract certain amounts from your gross income to arrive at your adjusted gross income (AGI). Further, you may then subtract from your AGI the greater of either your standard deduction (which is based on your filing status) or the total of your itemized deductions. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may find the following considerations of particular interest to you.

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Taxable vs. Nontaxable Income: Members of the Armed Forces

If you’re a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, you’re generally not required to pay federal income tax on all the income you receive. What’s taxed and what’s not taxed depends on what form the income takes and, in some cases, where the income is earned. Generally, basic pay, special pay, and bonuses are taxable (unless they’ve been earned for service in a combat zone), while in-kind benefits, reimbursements, and allowances are not taxable.

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